No Bones About It

On October 24, 2023, Special Collections held a spooky exhibit! From 11am until 2pm, we were in Ellis 114a with as many skeletons as we could find in our collections! The exhibit is now available online.

We have two main different kinds of books in this exhibit: anatomy textbooks of both humans and animals, and dances of the dead. You’ll get a chance to look at works like Andreas Vesalius’s De humani corporis fabrica libri septim (Of the construction of the human body in seven books), where you’ll be able to see how the human body works as Vesalius takes you through the bones of the human body in great detail, and Philip-Étienne Lafosse’s Cours d'hippiatrique (Lesson in hippiatry) which displays the anatomy of horses in great detail. Our dances of the dead from the 15th century onwards show skeletons imitating living people (or should we say, living people imitating skeletons?).

We’re not including all these bones just to be ghoulish, of course! Modern medicine wouldn’t be where it is today if it hadn’t been for anatomists dissecting bodies to see how they worked, and the dances of the dead are an important reminder of our shared humanity, no matter what we do for a living.

The exhibit has been organized alphabetically by language, but we could just as easily have gone by topic, by date, or by place of publication. We just hope that you enjoy this spooky skeletons!